Diary of a Creative Writing PhD student: Creator of Literary Events, Literary Talks and Creative Co-Producer of Stories at the Storey, North West Literary Salon and Characters in Motion/Off the Page Writing Development Performed Workshops.
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Honey, Your Guinea Pig is Dead: Conversations I Don't Want to Have With My Son
There are some conversations that
get easier to have the more often you have them—death isn't one of them.
This weekend I woke up to quiet.
Unexpected, somewhat jolting, my
three children, dog, cat, presumably the leopard gecko were sleeping and so
was—it would seem for a few more minutes—Lita Gibby.
Lita Gibby does not sleep. Or if she
does, she is a light sleeper. Since she’s lived with us, she has become in
tuned with movement, shifts in lighting, every whispered sound.
She detects everything.
She sings—or sang—to music, to
silence, to footsteps.
Lita Gibby was Noah’s birthday
I should have learned you can’t give
The plump white and brown guinea
pig, deceptively quiet in the pet store, uncharacteristically quiet today, is
Because Noah was three when we got
her, I spent more time than I thought I would talking to, petting, cleaning up
after, feeding, and though I didn’t expect to, loving Lita Gibby.
There are just a few moments between
now—when he thinks Lita Gibby is alive—and later when he doesn’t.
This is not his first death. Fish
have died. This will not be his last death. I will die—some day.
When his fish died, I replaced them
with new, brighter, more alive ones. I think briefly of replacing his guinea
pig. But, what are the chances of getting one who whistles as commandingly as
I can no more replace his guinea pig
than I can replace a dying grandparent.
Each death gets more difficult to
explain, the reasons more artful, the reactions more tearful.
I can buy a new guinea pig, a frog,
a toad. I can not give the gift of life and I'm not looking forward to talking
about it why.